India: A year after 377 verdict: Long battle for civil rights

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

A year after 377 verdict: Long battle for civil rights still ahead

It’s been a year since the Supreme Court read down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code

INDIA Updated: Sep 06, 2019 07:09 IST

Dhamini Ratnam and Dhrubo Jyoti
Dhamini Ratnam and Dhrubo Jyoti

Hindustan Times, New Delhi
The bill, first moved by the government in 2015, has been mired in controversy with many activists complaining it falls short of safeguarding their rights.
The bill, first moved by the government in 2015, has been mired in controversy with many activists complaining it falls short of safeguarding their rights.(Sushil Kumar/HT FILE PHOTO)

A year ago, the Supreme Court handed victory to 34 people from across India who challenged Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, a British-era law that criminalized consensual, adult, same-sex relationships and fostered a climate of fear and discrimination against the entire Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community.

Now, petitioners and other members of the community say that although Section 377 was read down on September 6, 2018, the legal battle for their civil rights has only just begun.

According to them, the right to own and inherit property, nominate their same-sex partners on hospital and insurance forms, and receive legal recognition of same-sex relationships and marriage were some of the main demands. Other petitions pertaining to reservations for trans persons in government jobs and educational institutions, and seeking the formation of Transgender Welfare Boards, among other things, are in the works.

“When I get calls from young people all over India, they want marriage, insurance, civil and economic rights. The cap on the bottle has been removed. It will be a multi-pronged fight,” said Menaka Guruswamy, senior Supreme Court advocate and one of the lawyers in the main Section 377 case titled Navtej Johar versus Union of India.

Analysis | 377: What we won, what remains

The preparations have already begun. Lucknow-based petitioner Arif Jafar said he and his lawyers were finalizing a petition to ask for same-sex partners to be allowed to nominate each other in insurance and property documents. Hotelier Keshav Suri said he was working on a petition asking for spousal recognition and benefits — such as joint bank accounts.

“We may not immediately ask for marriage equality, because that is a longer battle but start on the lower-hanging fruit,” said the 34-year-old, who is married to a French man. “My marriage is recognised in France but not here, I want to change that,” he added, but cautioned that consultations and strategising had not happened yet.

Another petitioner, Suma, a trans woman, will soon petition the Karnataka administrative tribunal over reservations for a government position.

Bengaluru-based activist Akkai Padmashali said the past year had seen greater recognition of LGBT rights by bureaucrats, but raised issue with the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2019, which was recently passed by the Lok Sabha. “If it passes in its current form, I will have no choice but challenge it in the SC,” she said.

The bill, first moved by the government in 2015, has been mired in controversy with many activists complaining it falls short of safeguarding their rights.

The Human Rights law Network (HRLN) will soon file public interest litigation’s for several transgender petitioners asking states to take steps for framing social welfare schemes, including setting up Transgender Welfare Boards, providing identity cards, toilets, and free medical care, a lawyer at HRLN said.

In July, trans activist Grace Banu filed a public interest litigation in the Madras high court seeking reservation for trans persons in education and public employment. Currently, Tamil Nadu allows reservation in the Most Backward Classes category. The petition seeks separate reservation for those persons who identify as trans.

“After the Section 377 verdict, people expected things to change much faster than they have on the ground, with problems of lack of shelter homes/safe houses, sensitive police machinery, lawyers and judges still very much present. In fact, the real struggle begins after the positive court orders where the courts have reaffirmed their right to choice, and people struggle to find jobs, rented houses while facing constant emotional pressure from families to come back,” said Delhi-based lawyer Amritananda Chakravorty.

On September 6, the Delhi high court will hear a habeas corpus case involving a lesbian in her 30’s, who was allegedly separated from her partner by her family. The woman who is married and is reportedly a victim of domestic violence, has been staying at a city shelter home in the city.

Over the past 12 months, judgments in various high courts around the country expanded the scope of human rights for LGBT people. In October 2018, a trans man named Jeeva petitioned the Karnataka high court to change his name and gender on his school and college certificates. The judge directed the state’s education department to ensure that other trans persons are able to do the same without the court’s further intervention in this matter.

In April 2019, the Madurai bench of the Madras high court upheld the marriage between a man and a trans woman, who approached the court after registration authorities refused to recognize the union, saying that a trans woman couldn’t be considered a bride under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.

This was the first judgment in India where the right to marry under Article 21 of the Constitution was affirmed for transgender persons, noted the Bengaluru-based Centre for Law and Policy Research.

There are other challenges, too. In October 2018, the SC dismissed a petition seeking civil rights for the LGBT community and refused to review the decision in July 2019 – saying the issue had already been dealt with in Navtej Johar vs Union of India.

Guruswamy said the next battle for LGBT rights may be a case in a district court that eventually gets bumped up to the apex court on appeal.

“Young people are already approaching district and high courts, police stations and registrars and demanding their rights. That is the way the next big case will come,” she added.

First Published: Sep 06, 2019 05:27 IST

Saudi: Richard Gere Visits Migrants Stuck in Mediterranean

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Richard Gere Visits Migrants Stuck in Mediterranean

Friday, 9 August, 2019 – 11:45
Actor Richard Gere, right, talks with migrants aboard the Open Arms Spanish humanitarian boat as it cruises in the Mediterranean Sea, Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Valerio Nicolosi)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Actor Richard Gere visited on Friday rescued migrants on board a humanitarian ship that has been stuck in the Mediterranean Sea for over a week.

The Hollywood star took food and supplies by boat to 121 people aboard the ship of Barcelona-based Open Arms charity.

The ship has been floating in international waters near the Italian island of Lampedusa after being blocked from entering ports in Italy and Malta.

The 69-year-old actor carried fruit boxes on board and spoke to several migrants who had fled war-torn Libya on un-seaworthy smuggling boats before being rescued.

Gere urged the world to “please support us here on Open Arms and help these people, our brothers and sisters.”

Other European countries have yet to respond to the aid group’s request for a solution to the impasse over the rescue ship.

The European Commission should help the migrants, European Parliament speaker David Sassoli said in a letter on Thursday to the EU executive’s president, Jean-Claude Juncker.

Charity rescue boats have largely disappeared from the Mediterranean over the last year as governments have tightened controls and those that have rescued migrants have faced lengthy standoffs trying to disembark them.

Egypt Launches Platform on Human Rights Conditions

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Egypt Launches Platform on Human Rights Conditions

Thursday, 11 July, 2019 – 11:00
Egyptian deputy of the human rights committee in parliament, Margaret Azer (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Cairo – Walid Abdul Rahman
Egypt launched a trilingual platform that provides information on the human rights conditions in the country.

The portal includes a database of all local, regional and international information about human rights, announced the State Information Service (SIS), adding that it is meant to promote a correct understanding of human rights, taking into consideration the economic, social, cultural and political aspects.

SIS also indicated that it will use the portal to confront attempts to politicize human rights’ conditions in the country.

The platform is part of a broad media activity being carried out to achieve Egypt’s goals in promoting and spreading the culture of human rights, according to SIS chairman Diaa Rashwan.

Egyptian deputy of the human rights committee in parliament, Margaret Azer told Asharq Al-Awsat that the new platform will use evidence to respond to “suspicious” organizations trying to politically exploit human rights issues in Egypt.

It will also respond to the questions and reports of international organizations on conditions in Egypt.

In March, Cairo responded to the US State Department’s annual report on the human rights situation in the world in 2018, saying it was “not objective” and makes unsubstantiated claims about the state of human rights in the country.

Egypt has repeatedly asked Human Rights Watch (HRW) to be accurate about its human rights reports.

Russia Expresses Serious Concern over Decline in Number of Refugees Leaving Rukban

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Russia Expresses Serious Concern over Decline in Number of Refugees Leaving Rukban

Thursday, 11 July, 2019 – 11:30
Humanitarian aid is prepared to be delivered to Syria, in the town of Ramtha, Jordan, July 2, 2018. (File Photo: Reuters)
Moscow – Raed Jabr
Russia has renewed its accusation of the US hindering the exit of refugees from al-Rukban camp in southern Syria, and expressed serious concern about the humanitarian situation in the region.

The Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria issued a statement strongly criticizing Washington’s actions in the region, accusing it of turning a blind eye to militants in Rukban using civilians as “human shields”, a move that aggravates the humanitarian situation.

The Center also expressed “serious concern about a decline in the number of refugees leaving the Rukban camp, due to the desire of militants controlled by the United States to keep them as human shields.”

It explained that militants have constantly increased the financial cost of allowing people to move from al-Tanf zone to the Jleb checkpoint, which falls under the control of the Syrian government.

“We draw to the attention of the international community that further retention by the United States and its allies of Syrian territories, the Rukban and al-Hol refugee camps only delays the end of the conflict in Syria, aggravates the criminal situation, hampers the repatriation of Syrians,” the statement added.

Rukban is located within a 55-km so-called deconfliction zone established by the Pentagon with the aim of shielding the Tanf garrison from attacks.

Moscow has repeatedly called for removing the displaced from the camp and announced with the Syrian authorities the establishment of two crossings for refugee exit, but they failed to convince the displaced to go to areas under regime control.

Washington is ignoring the situation, said Chief of the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria Major General Viktor Kupchishin, adding that refugees abstain from leaving the camp because of the fuel crisis in the region and the increase in crossing fees imposed by US-affiliated militants.

Washington, in turn, accuses the Russians of blocking access of UN humanitarian aid to the region.

As of June 10, 2019, 13,539 refugees have left the Rukban camp, including 2,842 men, 3,817 women and 6,880 children, according to Russian estimates.

On the other hand, a number of Russian military and security experts believe it is time for the Russian tankers to replace Iranian tankers to cover oil shortage to Syria.

Recently, Vladimir Mukhin wrote in Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper saying escalation by Washington and its allies against Damascus and Tehran by trapping oil tankers will have major repercussions if Moscow does not intervene quickly to settle this issue.

Mukhin viewed the seizure of an Iranian tanker by the British Royal Marines as a plan “carefully organized in Washington and London,” recalling a statement by White House national security adviser John Bolton in which he welcomed Britain’s seizure of the tanker loaded with Iranian oil bound for Syria.

The expert said Moscow is currently facing in Syria a new phase of war against the Syrian regime and Iranian leadership.

He added that aside from the blockade on transferring goods to Syria, the United States has unofficially imposed a ban on the purchase of oil produced in Syrian territories occupied by the US forces, which is an attempt to further stifle the Syrian economy.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported that last month, five underwater pipelines in Syrian coastal waters from Tartus to Banias were targeted, resulting in a huge oil spill.

The experts agreed that this was a “sabotage act” carried out by militants close to “one of the major military forces hostile to the Assad regime.”

The newspaper believes Moscow should deal with current developments because it reflects an attempt to intensify the pressure on Damascus and block Russian efforts to normalize the situation in Syria.

Brunei Sultan backtracks on death penalty for gay sex

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SHANGHAI CHINA’S SHINE NEWS)

 

Brunei sultan backtracks on death penalty for gay sex

AFP

AFP

 In this file photo taken on April 3, 2019, Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah delivers a speech during an event in Bandar Seri Begawan.

Brunei’s sultan has announced death by stoning for gay sex and adultery will not be enforced after a global backlash, but critics yesterday called for harsh sharia laws to be abandoned entirely.

In a speech late on Sunday, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah said a moratorium on capital punishment that already applies to Brunei’s regular criminal code would also extend to its new sharia code, which includes death by stoning for various crimes.

The code, which also punishes theft with the amputation of hands and feet, fully came into force last month in the small sultanate on Borneo island, making it the only country in East or Southeast Asia with sharia law at the national level.

The move sparked anger from governments and rights groups, the United Nations slammed it as a “clear violation” of human rights while celebrities led by actor George Clooney called for Brunei-owned hotels to be boycotted. In a televised address, the all-powerful sultan made his first public comments about the furore and took the rare step of addressing criticism, saying there had been “many questions and misperceptions” regarding the sharia laws.

“Both the common law and the sharia law aim to ensure peace and harmony of the country,” he insisted, according to an official translation of his speech.

Some crimes in Muslim-majority Brunei including murder and drug-trafficking were already punishable with death by hanging under the regular criminal code, which is enforced alongside the sharia code, but no one has been executed for decades.

Scope for remission

Hassanal said that “we have practiced a de facto moratorium on the execution of death penalty for cases under the common law. This will also be applied to cases under the (sharia penal code), which provides a wider scope for remission.”

But rights groups said the announcement did not go far enough.

“It really doesn’t change anything,” Matthew Woolfe, founder of rights group The Brunei Project, said. “This announcement does nothing to address the many other human rights concerns about the (sharia code).”

The maximum punishment for gay sex between men under the sharia code is death by stoning, but perpetrators can also be sentenced to lengthy jail terms or caning. Women convicted of having sexual relations with other women face up to 40 strokes of the cane or a maximum 10-year jail term.

Whipping and jail terms, as well as severing of limbs for theft, under the new code were not affected by the sultan’s announcement.

It was not clear how far other sharia punishments would be enforced.

The sultan also vowed in his speech that Brunei would ratify the United Nations convention against torture which it signed several years ago.

Give Me Soft Targets And I’ll Kill you all!

Give Me Soft Targets And I’ll Kill you all!

 

This title is for two purposes, to get your attention and to try to get people to actually think a little bit. I had just finished my supper and had sat down to write a poem for this blog but I got distracted by the news of a mass shooting in southern California so I decided to write this first. I am also writing this letter to you today so as to make sure to everyone exactly how I feel on the issue of firearms. I am a person that when I do go out of the house I very often carry a 45 Ruger (concealed) everywhere I go. When I go into a store around here I know that plenty of folks are carrying a sidearm also. If I go into a store or business of any kind I know that if I chose to act the part of a fool and pull my sidearm that most likely several people around me would shoot me dead, as they should. The management of businesses also know that the people like me who carry are actually extra security for their business and for their employees and they don’t even have to pay for the protection. It is the same for when people go to a House of Worship, if there are let’s say, 200 people in the building probably at least 20 are carrying a firearm. Because of the Constitutional right that we all have to protect ourselves we then become not such a ‘soft’ target.

 

Cowards love soft targets and the reason is simple, they want to cause as much death as possible without getting shot themselves. If a person goes into a ‘soft target’ like a synagogue they are not expecting to be shot at, they want to be the only one with a gun so that they can continue to kill people until they run out of bullets. Today at the Chabad Synagogue in Poway California a 19-year-old man walked into the Passover Service and started shooting, he shot four people killing only one even though he was using (reportedly) a semi auto AR-15 assault rifle. There is only one reason there are not many more dead people this evening and that was because there was a member of the Congregation, a Border Patrol Agent there WITH HIS FIREARM. This agent shot at the murderer (missing him) and the coward fled. Having a gun in the building saved many lives today.

 

Here in the U.S. the Democratic Party Platform has for years been trying to make every law-abiding citizen an easy kill for every lunatic, A-hole, hate filled soul as well as for all the terrorist. Also remember that not all police officers or all military personal are honest decent people either, this is why the framers of the Constitution insisted that the people have a way to defend themselves from a tyranny filled government. Have you ever noticed that the people who scream the loudest about ‘gun control’ like Hillary Clinton have multiple guns protecting her and Bill at all times. That is called hypocrites folks. These same people who do not want the U.S. building walls have themselves built high walls around themselves and their homes. Terrorists in this country have always chosen soft targets to do their evil, places like Churches, synagogues, and schools. The day will come where terrorists, domestic and foreign will start mass bombings and shootings here on our soil against police agencies and government agencies as well as against the politicians. If people like Hillary had any sense they would advocate for good background checks and for the citizens to be able to protect themselves. That is what honest politicians would do, ones who trusted their own citizens, but then again, that statement does say it all. You notice I did say ‘honest politicians’ whom actually trust their own citizens!

Yemeni Parliament Pledges Ending Houthi Coup, Bringing Peace

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Yemeni Parliament Pledges Ending Houthi Coup, Bringing Peace

Wednesday, 24 April, 2019 – 14:30
The new Cabinet’s session in the presence of President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi in Seiyun (Saba News Agency)
Riyadh- Asharq Al-Awsat
Yemen’s Parliament Speaker Sultan al-Borkani pledged to end the Houthi coup and bring peace to the war-torn country.

This came during his meeting in Riyadh with the Chinese and British ambassadors in light with the MPs’ move in the diplomatic circles to enhance the legitimate government’s position in the country.

The parliament resumed its activity on April 13 by holding an extraordinary session in the eastern city of Seiyun in Hadramaut after most deputies attended.

Official sources said Borkani and the members of the parliament bureau, deputies Mohammad al-Shaddadi and Eng. Mohsen Busra, have received British ambassador to Yemen Michael Aron to discuss the latest developments in the country.

Borkani praised the great role played by the United Kingdom and its keenness to implement UN resolutions and agreements, most recently of which was the Stockholm Agreement on Hodeidah.

He also referred to the arbitrary measures taken recently by Houthi militias against Yemeni deputies, saying they contradict with all values and ethics.

Houthis have earlier taken measures against deputies, who have attended the parliamentary session in Seiyun, on charges of treason. They issued judicial claims to confiscate the property of those deputies, seize their houses, and arrest their relatives.

Borkani pointed out that the humanitarian tragedy has exacerbated by the continuation of the coup and failure to respond to peace options, according to Saba.

The agency added that he vowed to work hard to end the coup, restore the state and its institutions, end the human suffering, support any political solutions to bring peace, take into consideration issues related to citizens’ life and play his legislative and supervisory role.

He shed light on the militias’ lack of seriousness in dealing with the peace process, citing the non-implementation of Hodeidah agreement.

“Any attempts or talks about a settlement without including Hodeidah agreement will neither be useful nor unreasonable,” he noted, adding that instead, this will prolong the war and increase the Yemeni people’s suffering.

He hoped the Quartet meeting, which is scheduled to be held soon in London, will bring positive outcomes and strict positions that would force the militias to implement the agreements and comply with peace in accordance with the three terms of reference.

The Quartet includes foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

Aron, for his part, pointed to the cooperation between Yemen’s parliament and UK’s House of Commons, saying his country “will provide facilitation for the success of efforts to achieve peace and implement Stockholm agreement on Hodeidah”.

My Thoughts On The Economics Of Americas Slave Systems Past And Present

 

My Thoughts On The Economics Of Americas Slave Systems Past And Present

 

Here in the U.S. if you have gone through the education system and paid any attention to the History of the ‘Americas’ then you should know of our ‘Slave History’. When the Europeans started coming across the Atlantic Ocean looking for land and natural resources they knew they would have to have physical human help to harvest these resources. For the purpose of this letter to you today I am only going to speak of events I know more about so I am only going to be referring to events here in the U.S..

 

When the ‘Settlers’ started coming to North America (U.S.) there were those who sought more than a new start and a couple of Acres of land. Some of these folks had some money along with some big dreams of becoming even richer. Think about it for a moment, you or I are in possession of a thousand acres of prime land in the “New World” in the early 1500’s. We have money or we can get the money to create mass wealth for ourself, if we can find the people needed to do all of the physical labor for us. We would also want to get this labor as cheaply as is possible so that our initial outlay of cash is as low as possible. (This is a basic business reality that still exists today.) So, now, who can we get to do this work for us? Who is going to build our houses and stores for us, who is going to maintain them for us?

 

Our History Books tell us that first the wealthy white men who came to the New World to start their Plantations and the such tried to hire poorer white folks to do their bidding but they couldn’t get anywhere near enough whites who would agree to work for them. So, next they attempted enslavement of the Native Indian Folks, trouble was the ‘Indian Folks’ knew the land well and were always escaping, mostly never to be seen again. Next came ‘indentured’ White people. This system was set up to where if you were a poor white person in Europe and you wanted to leave there and go to the ‘New World’ you still needed to be able to get a ship to take you. If you had no money you tended to be out of luck, unless you would agree to be an indentured slave for a period of seven years. If I was rich and you were poor you would agree to work for me for the first seven years to work off your cost of the ‘passage.’

 

The reality of the situation on the ground was that the land owners couldn’t get enough White folks to accept this ‘indentured’ program. The land owners needed more workers and they needed workers more ‘acclimated’ to that type of hot hard work. So, their logical choice was to kidnap Africans as slave labor. Was this ethical or ‘right’ to do this, my opinion is absolutely not. The wealthy of the time obviously disagreed.

 

Modern day slavery: In the U.S. slavery is not a legal enterprise but it still does exist as an ‘underground’ reality especially in some of our biggest cities. Think about it for a moment, why would ‘Business people’ today still want slavery or at least as close to slavery as possible? The answer is simple, the less overhead you have, the more money you get to put into your own pocket. If I own a business here in the States the less I have to pay to get my product out the door, the better for me. Businesses are supposed to pay at least the Federal Minimum Wage of $7.25 per hour, which has not increased in the past 10 years. Companies want higher profits, employees want to be able to make a ‘livable’ wage. Why do you think that companies hire illegals? Simple they don’t want to pay the minimum wage so they hire or bring in ‘illegals’, pay them even less with no overtime pay, no benefits and if they gripe they get turned over to the authorities to be deported. To me, I personally believe that the world’s Stock Exchanges are the biggest single tool of businesses that is in its design made to starve the ‘lowest caste’ of people around the industrialized world.

 

I am going to finish this letter to you with why I believe it is best for the world’s businesses if they were all forced to pay livable wages to their employees. If a country has no middle class then they are not buying anyone’s products, not even basic things. If the workers don’t get paid enough to supply food and basic housing for their families or themselves they are not buying any other products either. If you are working full-time jobs, and in many cases more than one job and you don’t make enough for the existence of a minimal living you are not buying cars, furniture, clothes, medicine, or anything else. This is why Jesus said that “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter into Heaven.” It is called greed folks, pure greed cares about no one but themselves.

 

Hamas Tell’s Brazil’s President What He Can And Cannot Do?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF BRAZIL 247)

 

Women to Get Equal Representation in UAE’s FNC as per President’s Directives

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Women to Get Equal Representation in UAE’s FNC as per President’s Directives

Sunday, 9 December, 2018 – 10:30
UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan among members of the Federal National Council (FNC) (WAM)
Abu Dhabi – Asharq Al Awsat
Women’s representation in UAE’s Federal National Council (FNC) will be increased to 50 percent in the coming parliamentary term, as per the directives of President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. In a step reflecting the country’s future approach aimed at achieving full empowerment of Emirati women and emphasises their pioneering and effective role in all vital sectors of the UAE.

The President’s directives include doubling the current percentage of women’s representation in the Council from 22.5 percent to 50 percent in the coming parliamentary term, aiming to place UAE in top positions worldwide in terms of representation of women in parliament, reported Emirati News Agency (WAM).

This will enable the UAE women to achieve, in a record time, what has been achieved by their international counterparts in decades.

The National Council is comprised of 40 members, and the number of women will increase from nine to twenty next year. The Council discusses general issues such as bills and government budgets.

Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, voiced his support for the plans to further improve gender parity in government.

He noted that this “is a great leap forwards in cementing the legislative and parliamentary role of women in our nation’s development.”

“Women are half of our society: they should be represented as such,” said Sheikh Mohammed in a tweet.

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, congratulated Emirati women on the decision.

“We congratulate the Emirati women on raising their representation in the Federal National Council. This is an additional step to enhance their role and contribution to national decision-making,” he asserted.

The Crown Prince described women as the partners and supporters in the process of building and development as well as “a role model in giving and excellence.” He added that women proved effective in various work fields, wishing them all the success.

Half of the Council’s members are elected by electoral bodies whose members are nominated by the rulers of the various emirates, while the other half is appointed.

Elections for a new set of FNC members will be held next year. Currently, there are nine women members, representing 20 per cent of the 40 available seats.

Current chairperson and speaker of the FNC is Amal al-Qubaisi, who became the first woman leader of a national assembly in the UAE and Arab world three years ago. Qubaisi was also the first woman elected to the FNC in 2006